Astrology 101: The Eighth House and Its Meanings
August 10, 2008 by Nina Gryphon
Concluding our tour of the malefic houses of the horoscope, the eighth house is thoroughly and completely malefic; it is associated with death and fear. The only neutral meaning of this house is that of other people’s assets, including inheritances; if we want to know whether our spouse will be wealthy, we might look, among other indicators, to the eighth house. This is because it is the second house from the seventh — our partners’ money.
The reason that the eighth house is malefic is because it does not form a major aspect to the ascendant, through which light enters the horoscope. Therefore, the eighth house is harmful to the life force, along with the sixth and twelfth houses.
Despite what some astrologers may claim, we will all die, and it is unlikely to be a fun experience. Traditional astrology acknowledges that the quality of death varies dramatically from person to person. Strong planets in the natal eighth house represent a saving grace that helps us cheat death, or they might give an easy, peaceful death. Malefic planets in the eighth house promise the contrary. A heavy emphasis on the eighth house in predictive techniques, such as the solar return, or in progressions or directions, can indicate death. Most often, the other malefic houses, the sixth and the 12th (possibly the fourth, being the house of endings) will be activated as well.
For example, the French astrologer Jean-Baptiste Morin had an ominous solar return in 1656, well into his 70s. The solar return ascendant was conjunct the cusp of his natal eighth house, and the solar return Sun conjoined the natal 12th house cusp, along with Jupiter, ruler of the natal eighth house of death. The solar return Jupiter, ruling the eighth house of death in the natal chart, was exactly conjunct the solar return ascendant. The ruler of the natal sixth house of illness, Mercury, was conjunct the solar return Sun. Morin died in November 1656. [Data from The Art of Forecasting Using Solar Returns by Anthony Louis.] We can see that the eighth house alone may not predict death in the natal horoscope, and other malefic houses will often be involved as well.
This meaning of the eighth house tends to show up most strongly in horary charts, and disproportionately often, the ruler of the ascendant is in the eighth house, showing the querent’s fear about the issue at hand. Phobias, as such, are more of a 12th house affair. The eighth house experience of fear is more temporary and event-specific.
To round out the parade of horribles, the eighth house also rules the organs of excretion (in contrast with the organs of reproduction, ruled by the 7th house).
Other People’s Money
A couple of years ago, I did an informal study of a couple dozen natal horoscopes of those who made their money through marriage or relationships. I expected to see a strong eighth house, reflecting the spouse’s assets. However, I was disappointed, because it was usually the native’s second house or other personal indicator of wealth that was strong, not the eighth house. It was usually the natal second house or related indicators that were connected to the seventh house ruler, the Lot of Marriage, etc. The eighth house never really stood out in these horoscopes.
There is an important lesson here for astrologers. The eighth house as other people’s money is really only indicative in horary charts, where someone might ask about the assets and wealth of a prospective spouse, customer, or business partner. In the natal context, we would revert back to the usual indicators of personal wealth.
What has been your experience with the eighth house in your chart or that of others?